March 17, 2006
To protect women's lives, of course.
This can be the only conclusion, based on the concern shown about two deaths which may be related to RU 486. It is unclear if they were, and if so, if they were caused by inappropriate use or follow up. But surely, with pregnancy posing the much greater danger, it should be banned immediately.
And we'd better damn sure ban viagra. Look at the number of deaths! Such a risk! It dwarfs the figures on RU 486. In the hundreds!
Ban aspirin too! Over 7,000 deaths per year.
Oh, that's right. How silly of me. The people who take those drugs are informed consumers taking a calculated risk. Unlike the not-capable-of-rational-thought women seeking abortions.
Likewise silly of me to think that news coverage of the issue would emphasize scientific tests, likelihood of appropriate use, and other factors. Instead we get:
Two Senate abortion foes, Republicans Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, urged passage of legislation that would suspend sales of RU-486 until the Government Accountability Office reviews how the FDA approved it.
"RU-486 is a deadly drug that is killing pregnant women," DeMint said. "This drug should never have been approved, and it must be suspended immediately."
Any South Carolinians out there? Want to call up for a little constituent service and ask for DeMint to consider having the government suspend sales of Viagra and review the FDA approval process? Oklahomans?
Posted by binky at March 17, 2006 11:52 PM
| Posted to Health
| Reproductive Autonomy
And while we're at it: Eating at Denny's in California since 3 people have been shot in the last couple of days.
So, we want to encourage the kind of public policy that makes them only go to seedy places? What's the point of your comment?
Assemble some statistics about deaths from other drugs, and correlate with major hospitals. You'll likely find that "the best" are also responsible for deaths. What does that prove, exactly?
Yesterday I was reading an interesting article about off-label use of drugs (the technique that has been suggested as a major possible causal factor for these deaths). One of the main ways that off label use becomes common is by the active "salesmanship" of the drug companies. It happens with all kinds of drugs, that end up being widely used in ways, and for things, they weren't designed for. Heavy marketing creates an alternate use that sometimes outstrips the FDA approved one (another one that has come under fire is off label use of anti-depressants for children). If off label use is behind this, the appropriate strategy is to make sure that the drug is used correctly.
p.s. a little something to chew on:
The leading drug problem in the U.S. today is not the use of illegal drugs--it is the use of legal drugs. The fourth
leading cause of death in the U.S. is properly prescribed and
administered medication. By adding improperly prescribed medication to
that equation, it becomes the third leading cause of death. There are over 2 million hospital admissions and 180,000 deaths each and every year in the U.S. due solely to adverse drug reactions
And all the kerfuffle happens around a drug ivolving reproductive autonomy. Somehow I think it's not just about drug safety, or all the wailing and gnashing of teeth might be targeting Viagra, which is much more deadly than RU486.
UPDATE: a medical doctor explains:
So, the off-label regimen used was 1 tablet of RU-486 (Mifeprex), or 200 mg, orally, followed by 4 tablets of misoprostol, or 800 mcg, PV.
One more time: The FDA-approved regimen is 600 mg of RU-486 (Mifeprex) orally, followed by 400 mcg of misoprostol orally. The off-label regimen used was 200 mg of RU-486 (Mifeprex) orally, followed by 800 mcg of misoprostol PV.
All three articles correctly report that the off-label regimen involved a different route of administration for one of the drugs, misoprostol (PV vs. orally). What none of the articles mention is that the off-label regimen involved significantly different doses of both drugs. In fact, they all mistakenly report that, for both drugs, the approved dosage was used.
If you think drug dosage is not essential information, go ahead and take an entire bottle of aspirin for a headache, or take antibiotics for only one day of a seven day course and see what happens. [WARNING! This was a (possibly bad) joke, not an actual suggestion. Don't exceed the recommended daily dose of aspirin, and always finish a full course of antibiotics. And, yes, I do know I'm belaboring the point.]
When it comes to reports of deaths in women using RU-486 and misoprostol for medical abortions, what we should be discussing is if either one of these drugs, or both, could be a contributing factor. [So far there is no evidence for that.] But you tell me how we can be informed discussants when AP, AFP, and Reuters can't even get simple information, like dosage regimens, right. Nothing more than reading comprehension was involved in reporting this correctly. The information is clearly spelled out in the FDA press release. How can we expect accurate reporting of truly complex issues (how do we determine if the drugs are involved? What would a hypothetical mechanism of action be?) when the basics are misreported?
Decided not to respond, eh?
And lookie here, RU 486 has been ruled out in one of the cases.
Health officials said Monday they have ruled out the abortion pill RU-486 in one of two deaths in women who had taken the drug. The second remains under investigation.
The one death was unrelated to either abortion or use of the pill, the Food and Drug Administration said. The second woman showed symptoms of infection. Four other women have died of a rare but deadly infection after undergoing pill-triggered abortions.
In those four deaths, all involving Californians, the women tested positive for Clostridium sordellii, a common but rarely fatal bacterium.
The FDA has warned doctors to watch for infection by the bug. However, the drug, also called Mifeprex or mifepristone, has not been proved to be the cause in any of those cases, the FDA has said.
The recent deaths sparked renewed calls to ban the abortion pill.
And the bacteria? The most common association is not with abortion, but live birth.
Women are at highest risk of infection from C. sordellii following a live birth, spontaneous, medical, or surgical abortion. Of the 10 cases described in the literature prior to the recent U.S. cases associated with medical abortion, eight occurred following delivery of live-born infants, one occurred following a medical abortion, and one was not associated with pregnancy. The rate of vaginal colonization (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) with Clostridium species in the period after abortion has been reported to be as high as 29%, whereas these bacteria have been isolated in the vaginal secretions of 5%-10% of non-pregnant women.
It's really much safer to eliminate pregnancy. Free contraceptives for everyone!